Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls

One of the most popular Chinese take-out dishes is Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls. My recipe for this is better than what you will ever get at a restaurant. This is recipe is featured in my cookbook Cooking Around the World with Chef Dez, available on my website or Amazon worldwide.

Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls


“An oil thermometer or a deep fryer with a thermostat is a must for this recipe.”

  • 398ml can of pineapple tidbits or chunks, drained and juice reserved
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1.25 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small red onion, cut into large pieces
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup & 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1kg chicken breast filets, or chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Mix the reserved pineapple juice (should be approximately 2/3 cup of juice) with the 3 tablespoons of cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl. Then mix in the 1.25 cups white sugar, white vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of salt and set aside. Reserve the pineapple pieces separately.

  • Heat a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon of canola oil and then the onion pieces. Sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add the reserved sauce mixture from step 1 to the pan and bring to a full rolling boil to completely thicken the sauce, stirring consistently. Once thickened, remove from the heat, stir in the reserved pineapple, and set aside.
  • In a large deep pot, add enough canola oil for about a 4 to 5 inch depth of oil. Heat the oil until you can maintain a consistent temperature of 350°F to 375°F (or use a deep fryer set at 375°F). You must leave lots of room in the pot for expansion of the hot oil when cooking the chicken otherwise you risk it boiling over and causing a grease fire.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons white sugar, and garlic powder. Then whisk in the cold water to make a batter. Add the chicken pieces and mix completely by hand so that all the chicken pieces are coated.
  • Working in batches, quickly and carefully add about 10 to 15 chicken pieces to the hot oil – it is important to add the chicken pieces individually so that they stay separate from each other. Fry until golden brown and crispy, approximately 4 minutes. Move the chicken pieces around a bit in the hot oil as they cook. Once done, transfer to a paper towel lined tray.
  • Repeat step 6 until all the chicken is cooked.
  • Combine the sauce and chicken together in a serving dish and enjoy!

Makes approximately 10 cups

Chef Dez is a Chef, Writer, & Culinary Instructor. Visit him at www.chefdez.com
Write to him at dez@chefdez.com or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R4